Artificial Intelligence & Concept Formation

The text of this talk (given 19 March 2019 at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI) is now available here.  I'll be recording a video of myself presenting it (audio recording did not work out during the initial presentation) sometime in the near future as well.

Some notes on animal cognition

Aquinas—unlike some others of his time, before his time, and even after his time—did not always underestimate the potency of non-human animals’ estimative capacity by reducing it to “instinct”: that is, to an inborn, unchanging, “pre-programmed” routine of how to deal with environmental factors.  As we know now, in an endeavor accelerated by the investigative …

Thoughts on Being Human [3] – Signs of Our Times

What are the signs of our times?  That is: what signifies our here-and-now moment?  Screaming politicians?  Angry mobs?  Memes?  The ubiquity of networked technologies?  It is always hard to tell, from within a moment, what signifies the intelligibility of that moment; understanding precisely where we are requires spending time to find points of reference.  Every …

Modernism, Ultramodernism, and Postmodernism

The terms "modernism" and "postmodernism" are very frequently abused.  As all terms of culture, they admit a wide variety of predications: were you to compare two things called "modern" or "postmodern" side-by-side, the connection may not be immediately evident, except that very probably they would both be ugly: regardless of whether they are architecture, sculpture, …